About the Modeling & Analysis in Software Engineering Group

Computer Science is a fascinating field. In a relatively short amount of time, computers have impacted almost every aspect of society and enabled applications and uses thought impossible just a few years ago. These advances have been made possible through impressive technology improvements, both on the hardware and the software side. However, while many things about computers, software, and software development have changed, one aspect has stayed with us and is as relevant as it was in 1968 when it was first articulated [1]: the challenge of developing ever more powerful and complex software on time and on budget while ensuring that it satisfies its requirements and quality expectations [2].

In contrast to mainstream software development, traditional engineering disciplines greatly rely on the construction and use of models, i.e., artifacts that capture certain relevant aspects of the product to be built for some particular purpose, while leaving out other aspects that are demonstrably not relevant for that purpose [3,4].

Inspired by this use of models and the extent to which they are helping traditional engineering disciplines build highly complex artifacts efficiently and effectively, the MASE group researches model-based software development, i.e., we explore the use of notations, techniques, and tools that leverage abstraction, automation, and analysis to facilitate different aspects of software development.

Past and current work in the group falls into the following themes:

  • Analysis of models
  • Transformation and evolution of models
  • Formal specification and verification
  • Synthesis and correctness by construction
  • Demonstrators of model-based software development
  • Surveys, comparisons, literature reviews

For work, we typically build prototypes, but are also not afraid of using formal notations, techniques, and tools.

Our work has been carried out with the support of National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science (MRIS), the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), the Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft (DFG), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), IBM Canada, General Motors Canada, Ericsson Canada, Zeligsoft, EfficiOS, Malina Software Corp, and Edgewater Computer Systems.

For more information about our work, please see http://flux.cs.queensu.ca/mase/research/

References

[1] Report on a conference sponsored by the NATO SCIENCE COMMITTEE. Garmisch, Germany. October 7-11, 1968. homepages.cs.ncl.ac.uk/brian.randell/NATO/nato1968.PDF

[2] J. Dingel. Complexity is the Only Constant: Trends in Computing and Their Relevance to Model Driven Engineering. 9th International Conference on Graph Transformation (ICGT’16). Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 9761. Springer. dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-40530-8_1

[3] D.G. Elms, C.B. Brown. Professional decisions: the Central Role of Models. Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems, 29:3, 165-175, 2012. dx.doi.org/10.1080/10286608.2011.640752

[4] J. Sussman. Course materials for ESD.04J Frameworks and Models in Engineering Systems, Spring 2007. MIT OpenCourseWare (ocw.mit.edu), Massachusetts Institute of Technology.